Wish stories

Zak's wish...

“I wish to go to Legoland”

4 years old, Belfast

Metastatic neuroblastoma

The number of children in the UK who could benefit from a wish has doubled in the last 15 years, and is set to increase further.

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Zak's wish to go to LEGOLAND restored some of his childhood by bringing back the joy of play. This was something he had missed out on after he was diagnosed with a critical condition just two weeks after starting playgroup in 2015. Five years later, he still describes his wish as "the best day of my life."

Zak's Story

November 2016

The impact of illness

Zak, who lives in Belfast with his parents and baby sister, is being treated for a type of cancer called Metastatic Neuroblastoma. That's involved chemotherapy every 10 days, radiotherapy and also surgery to remove the mass, which Zak called “the Green Goblin!”

Zak, wearing a red jacket, being held by his mum and dad.

Zak with his mum and dad

After 14 months, Zak’s family was given the all-clear and he started a two year medical trial to reduce his chances of relapsing. That was initially successful, but he's now facing health challenges once more.

Zak’s Dad, Gareth, said: “He’s been so resilient; he just gets on with it.”

One of Zak’s doctors referred him to Make-A-Wish and when asked what his dearest wish would be, Zak explained how much he loves to play with Lego and that his favourite things to build are related to Batman stories.

Zak’s wishgranter, Nicola arranged for his whole family to travel from their home in Northern Ireland to visit Legoland Windsor Resort, where some exciting surprises lay in store for him!

Zak's Wish

March 2017

Too excited for words!

Zak and his family flew from Belfast to London and they were then driven to their accommodation at the Legoland hotel. Before the flight, Zak was invited to meet the pilot in the cockpit and even got to wear his cap!

Gareth said: “When we got to the hotel, Zak was so excitable he actually couldn’t speak. He was trying to talk so fast about everything he was seeing that his mouth couldn’t keep up!”

Zak loved the adventure-themed room they stayed in at the hotel, complete with a treasure chest. He didn’t want to sleep for the whole time he was at Legoland – he wanted to be everywhere at once!

Zak driving a blue Lego go-kart, during his trip to Legoland.

Zak driving a Lego go-kart, during his trip to Legoland.

On the first night, there was a mini disco for children and the next day, Zak explored the park and went on lots of rides. For Zak, the best part of the whole trip was when he got to meet his favourite character - Lego Batman.

Zak shaking the hand of Lego Batman while a staff member watches on.

Zak meeting his favourite character, Lego Batman

"We had no idea how much detail his wish would involve. Everything was taken care of, so that we could just enjoy being a family together."

Gareth, Zak's dad

How Zak's wish helped

September 2017

Family time is quality time

Zak's wish gave him the chance to be a child again, after so many months of his early years were spent in hospital. He was able to go on an adventure that was entirely his own creation.

It especially meant a lot for his family to be together as one unit as Zak’s baby sister was born during his treatment so he had missed this special time, as well as missing out on going to playgroup and starting nursery with his friends.

Zak posing in front of Legoland's model village with his mum, dad and sister in a pram.

Zak and his family in front of Legoland's model village

"When we left Northern Ireland for the wish Zak was under the weather but, when we got back he was a different boy. It’s boosted his confidence and he’s not afraid of anything! He always talks about his wish to everyone."

Gareth, Zak's dad

Now, Gareth says Zak is more confident around children his own age and he was well enough to start school in the September!

A smiling Zak wearing his grey school uniform.

A smiling Zak in his school uniform

We'd like to say a big thank you to Cash for Kids Northern Ireland for supporting us by funding Zak’s wish.

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